BOSTON — Wayne Simmonds' second shift of the game Saturday lasted 52 seconds and featured the Flyers forward, winger Taylor Leier and center Mikhail Vorobyov protecting the puck down low until Vorobyov set up Leier for a goal.
It was Simmonds' preseason debut, but you wouldn't have known it from the way the power forward played his patented hard-nosed game at both ends of the rink in the Flyers' 4-1 victory over the Boston Bruins at TD Garden.
Simmonds earned the secondary assist on Leier's goal and also scored a goal, with a drive to the net at 14:12 of the third period. After battling through injuries to get 46 points (24 goals, 22 assists) in 75 games last season, the 30-year-old, who underwent offseason abdominal surgery, may be 100 percent heathy for the Flyers' season-opener at the Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday.
"A little bit of rust, obviously," Simmonds said. "I think it's natural. A couple giveaways I would've liked to have back, but I felt like I was skating good, so it was nice."
Simmonds wasn't the only walking wounded Flyers player to get back in the lineup before the conclusion of the preseason. Center Sean Couturier, who had 76 points (31 goals, 45 assists) in 82 games last season, was back in his usual spot in between Claude Giroux and Travis Konecny. Couturier had missed all the prior preseason games because of a knee injury he sustained in a charity game on Aug. 10.
Couturier didn't get any points but landed four shots on net and won four of his five faceoffs in 15:08 of ice time.
"I'm feeling good. If I hadn't been feeling good, I probably wouldn't have played," Couturier said. "But I'm feeling good and we kind of want to get back into game shape and get the bad habits out of you from the summer and it's just good to get back out there and get a feel for where you need to be out there and get a feel for the game."
Flyers coach Dave Hakstol kept Couturier's shorthanded minutes (1:55) down while the Flyers were forced to kill off six minors (they limited the Bruins to one Ryan Donato power-play goal). Couturier's presence, though, definitely helped a Flyers penalty kill that struggled last season.
Although he admitted it wasn't a necessity for Simmonds and Couturier to play a game before the matches begin to count, Hakstol was pleased to have two of his most vital forwards healthy and back in the lineup.
"It's not absolutely critical that these guys get a game, but it is a nice luxury and it's nice to be able to knock, for me mostly, just a little bit of the rust off in tight spaces with the puck," Hakstol said. "Some of the pace of the game is a little quicker than practice, the spaces are a little tighter. And I think it's good to have that opportunity to get some minutes."